The weather is getting a little chilly as we enter November, but there is still much to see.
The good news is that we have made some repairs to the Lower Hide and it is now open again - though in a somewhat reduced state! We intend to keep this slightly smaller version of the hide open for the foreseeable future as we look into how we provide a permanent solution. Thanks to everyone for their patience.
The bearded tits are becoming more elusive as time goes on, but there is still a chance to see them throughout winter. They are now being seen collecting grit from the paths as well as the grit trays, so make sure to keep your eyes peeled! If you do not catch sight of them, then there is still a good chance of hearing them within the reedbed.
Speaking of elusive, another species on our reserve has been sighted around in the last couple weeks. These are the bitterns that have been mostly sighted from Grisedale, Lillian’s or Tim Jackson hides. These individuals are winter staples for the reserve, so we hope many more sightings are to come over the winter period.
November means the beginning of something exciting around Leighton Moss. The starling numbers are starting to build off-site. This means they are getting ready to murmurate. At the minute they are gathering at Barrow Scout which is our smaller site less than 5 minutes’ drive away from the main reserve. Their numbers are ever growing with numbers around the 50,000 mark right now. This means the move over to Leighton Moss is a little bit away still, but numbers are rising quickly with a full mumuration at Leighton Moss possible in late November or during December. This number is still a sight to see, so if you want to catch a look then we recommend heading down to Barrow Scout at around 3:30pm, and park within the Allen and Eric Morecambe hides car park. Then walk back towards the end of the lane near the main road to see the best view of this spectacle. Please do not park on the road or on the access track to the hides. Please also note that this track is in poor condition and drivers must take care.
Other recent sightings of note include: two spoonbills, up to eight marsh harriers, the long-staying late garganey, scaup, whooper swans, merlin and lots of siskins, redwings and fieldfares.
Who is already getting ready for Christmas? Doing some Christmas shopping? Well Leighton Moss is going to have their annual Christmas Market on Sunday 1 December. Come along and get some bits and pieces for family and friends (maybe a sneaky treat for yourself?) We will have a selection of food and products from local vendors selling a variety of products such as organic cheese, Bowland gin, sustainable clothing and beeswax wraps. There will also be entertainment from a great local ukulele band! It will be held within the Holt and the garden, and entry is free for those just visiting the market, regular fees apply to non-members who may also wish to explore the reserve.
Remember to look out on our Facebook group for any updates and recent sightings posted by us or our visitors. If you do visit the reserve, please remember to add your sightings to the book or post of our Facebook or Twitter accounts. We would love to see your wildlife photos too, whether they be of the friendly robins throughout the site, or the starlings at Barrow Scout.
Charlotte (Visitor Experience Intern)
Hi Jon, Thanks so much for the clarification and it is good to know that a total replacement hide rather than ongoing temporary repairs is not entirely off the cards Thanks to the guys/gals who have organised the work in order to reopen so quickly and to those who have put in the graft necessary and made it possible to access part of Lower Hide; as staff and visitors know, it is such an important part of the reserve which can turn up so many wonderful wildlife and the occasional surprise nesting bittern !
Hi Hazy - maybe we haven't been clear. The hide has been re-opened following investigation into the structure. The temporary closing off of the areas of concern within the hide itself, means that we can allow access to the hide rather than keeping it closed to the public - something I'm sure everyone would agree is an acceptable solution in the short-term. As we state above, we are looking into how we provide a permanent solution. We have certainly not ruled out replacing the entire hide but we cannot do this overnight. Thanks for your patience and I hope that you continue to enjoy Lower Hide.
Good news Lower Hide is reopen again but very disappoined to hear this hide is not in the immediate planning to be replaced with a newer version; I know money is tight these days but Lower Hide gives such special sightings very often and IMHO deserves to be replaced in it's entirety, it's feels like more good money after bad spent on fix-it repairs which may not last due to the age of this hide, now made even smaller :(
We spend 90% of net income on conservation, public education and advocacy
The RSPB is a member of BirdLife International. Find out more about the partnership
© The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is a registered charity: England and Wales no. 207076, Scotland no. SC037654